Present Living

Last weekend. Left town bone weary and an open sore.

Watched 27 bands in 4 days, one of them an REM cover band filled with people I dearly love and a rotating slate of Michaels Stipe. Got to be one of the Michaels Stipe on “Disturbance at the Heron House,” which has never felt more relevant than it does now.

Chris Williams of Plastic Flame Press drew this pic of us in our 30-minute set. I sort of love that it looks like Johnny is our overlord, projected across a screen above us. Other things I love include that my enormously talented friend offered to draw this and that it depicts a monumental night in my life.

Talked to a 14-year-old kid about Life In Hell. Thought a lot about how I was reading Life In Hell at 14, around the time it came out and before The Simpsons was its own show if you can imagine there ever was such a time, and that was because I got to wander around a bookstore and bring home whatever I wanted even though my folks were none stoked about the aytch-ee-double-hockeysticks.

Listened to a bunch of writers read generously vulnerable stuff, like, the shit and the guts. “Motherfucker, you don’t even like champagne,” is what I now say to my self destructive inner narrator which is a mildly passive aggressive Ron-Howard-friendly-reminder-style self destructive inner narrator.

Swam in The Lake (the lake the lake the lake).

Actual conversations about real things. Many of them.

Laffs-a-trillion. Laughing like we’re clinging to joy with sweaty fingertips.

Future Living was originally a joke about how we’d been saying for 25 years we should play music together. Future Living is both hope and anxiety, feelings that are both about living in an invented future and how maybe some of us feel anxiety when we hear the term and some of us feel hope and really it’s probably more like all of us feel both of those things to varying degrees moment-to-moment.

I get, evolutionarily, why we focus on the terrible. Depression has been, in my life, a protest, a signal that all is not right, a call in the dark to find those who might also be seeing the horror. Growth has involved resisting the false dichotomy that things can’t be both horrible and beautiful simultaneously.

Came home to dozens of emails from folks who are volunteering for RAWK and who wholeheartedly want to do right by the young people who wrote the works they’re editing, people from all over the country with varied backgrounds and experience who do not know these children from any other children but are devoted to honoring them. And the JWST, and a whole bunch of time petting my dogs, and taking my traditional full moon walk with buddies, and the existential dread has lifted.

And maybe (definitely) I need to train myself to think and talk about radiant good because it is everywhere.